Sports Illustrated NFL reporter Peter King made an appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Monday to talk about the upcoming draft and other league news.

Using a first-round round pick on a running back can be a dicey proposition. Just ask Bill Belichick, who has only drafted one back in the first round in the 11 drafts he’s presided over while with the Patriots.



Speaking to the Associated Press in Oklahoma City at his free football camp for kids, Patriots Wes Welker talked about how much he is enjoying the freedom the current NFL lockout has afforded him this offseason.

 

The Patriots worked out wide receiver Vidal Hazelton and offensive lineman Jason Kelce out of Cincinnati on Friday, according to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Hazelton is a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder who was at Souther Cal before transferring to Cincinnati. In his collegiate career, he had 63 catches for 649 yards and four touchdowns. Kelce is an interior offensive linemen who was at both guard and center over the course of his college career, and was named All-BIG EAST second team as a senior. Both are considered late-round draft possibilities.

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to give his thoughts on next week's draft. The Patriots -- with three picks in the top 33 and six in the first three rounds -- figure to play a key role in the draft, and McShay thinks a couple of early picks could be in play as trade possibilities.

The NFL announced Thursday afternoon that a collection of legends will be present to announce their respective teams' second-round picks during the NFL draft next week. Handling the duties for the Patriots will be Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett. (New England two second-round selections, Nos. 33 and 60 overall.) Others who are slated to participate include Buffalo's Andre Reed, Chicago's Richard Dent, Detroit's Barry Sanders, Pittsburgh's Franco Harris and Washington's Doug Williams.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft sounded an optimistic note about the state of pro football on Wednesday. Speaking with CSNNE.com, Kraft said it would be “criminal” if football isn’t played on Sunday’s at Gillette Stadium this fall, but added that everyone was trying to make a new deal work.

The Patriots hosted Southern Cal offensive lineman Tyron Smith on a visit Wednesday, according to ESPNBoston. A two-year starter at USC, the 6-foot-5, 307-pounder played in 24 of his final 25 college games with the Trojans, and was named All-Pac 10 first team as a senior. He is considered a first-round prospect. For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

With the reigning MVP under center, the Patriots are one of the few teams in the league who don’t need help at quarterback.



Here's the Patriots regular-season schedule for 2011:

Mon. Sept. 12 at Miami, 7 p.m.
Sun. Sept. 18 vs. San Diego, 4:15 p.m.
Sun. Sept. 25. at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Sun. Oct. 2 at Oakland, 4:15 p.m.
Sun. Oct. 9 vs. N.Y. Jets, 4:15 p.m.
Sun. Oct. 16 vs. Dallas, 4:15 p.m.
BYE WEEK
Sun. Oct. 30 at Pittsburgh, 4:15 p.m.
Sun. Nov. 6 vs. N.Y. Giants, 4:15 p.m.
Sun. Nov. 13 at N.Y. Jets, 8:20 p.m.
Mon. Nov. 21 vs. Kansas City, 8:30 p.m.
Sun. Nov. 27 at Philadelphia, 4:15 p.m.